Friday, March 19, 2010

Play Time

I had the opportunity to visit with some of Frank's friends from Hiram College. Fun stuff. A few of his friends have children and it was fun to watch them interact together. It is clear that there was a lot of love in the room and I really was impressed how they allowed the kids to express themselves through play. Witnessing this, I reflected on my own playability with my kids.

Upon reflection, I realize that I often get so caught up with "what I have to do". I sometimes even forget to play with my kids. I am not sure how this happens but it is also true that growing up I did not play much. I had a lot of responsibilities early on and worries too. So, playing has not been an organic process for me--at least not yet.

It is good to have role models who can point the way. Reminders are helpful. I suppose I may need to ask for help from my kids to guide my way--who better to ask than the mouths of babes?

I read an article on a website called The Cute Kid that had this to say about play:

"Playtime is valuable time. Children learn through play. During play children often imitate valuable adult behaviors, stretch their imagination and reinforce creativity, and feel like they have accomplished something. When you play with your child you add to these benefits by making your child feel important and valued.

As you play with your child let your child decide what to play. They usually choose an activity that they are interested in. When a child decides what to play it will keep their attention longer. It also increases the child's feelings of self-worth. Because they feel that their parent likes and is interested in the things that they do. You might get bored with the same activity but your child learns through repetition. If you are tired of it add a new dimension to the activity. Turn the tea party into cooking an entire meal. Instead of just pushing around cars build a garage and pretend to fix them. As your child gets older their interests will change as well. They might want to go outside and kick around a ball or play a game. They might want to help you cook in the kitchen or scrapbook together. Whatever your child's interests just make sure that your child chooses the activity not you."

It is interesting to think about my kid's interests. They have fun spirits and I know I can enjoy letting them take the lead, expressing themselves and all the while I can help them increase their sense of self.

This is an area of growth for me. I need to find a way to relax and set aside my to do list so I can be fully present with them. After all, what better gift can I give them but my time?